Convinced terrorist or victim of circumstance: who really was Fanny Kaplan, who shot Lenin?
Convinced terrorist or victim of circumstance: who really was Fanny Kaplan, who shot Lenin?
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Fanny Kaplan

98 years ago, on August 30, 1918, the loudest attempt on Lenin: the leader of the world revolution was shot by a terrorist Fanny Kaplan… During the Soviet era, her name was known to every schoolchild, and the opinion about her was unambiguous: the crime was organized by the Social Revolutionaries, and the exalted and fanatical Fanny Kaplan became the performer. Nowadays, alternative versions are being expressed - that Fanny was only a pawn in someone else's game, or even was not at all involved in the crime. Who was she really?

Lenin speaking at a rally

Her real name is Feiga Haimovna Roydman (or Roytblat), as she was called until the age of 16, until her parents left for America, and the girl was carried away by revolutionary ideas and anarchism. Under the name Fanny Kaplan, she carried out various assignments, mainly transporting seditious literature. However, modern researchers suggest that her participation in revolutionary activities was indirect.

Fanny Kaplan

She joined the anarchists during the 1905 revolution, under the influence of a young man with whom she was in love. Then a group of anarchist agitators appeared in the Volyn province, among whom was Viktor Garsky (aka Yashka Shmidman, aka Mika) - for the sake of him the girl was ready for a lot. In revolutionary circles she was known under the name Dora or Fanya. The "Southern Group" was preparing an assassination attempt on the Governor-General of Kiev Sukhomlinov. In December 1906 Fanya and Mika rented a room at the Kupecheskaya Hotel. There, the lovers were assembling a bomb, but due to an incorrect assembly, an explosion was heard.

Convicts after release. Fanny Kaplan in the middle row near the window. March 1917

Garsky managed to convince the girl that it was she who should divert the attention of the police, since he would face the inevitable death penalty, and they should have shown leniency to her. He disappeared, and the naive Fanya was brought to trial. For attempted murder, she also faced the death penalty, but as a minor she was sentenced to … life imprisonment. In prison, she met the famous revolutionary Maria Spiridonova, and under her influence changed her anarchist views to those of the Socialist-Revolutionary. In hard labor, the girl began to experience bouts of blindness as a result of a shell shock after a bomb explosion. She was often ill and would probably have died in hard labor, but the February Revolution took place, and Fanny was released.

Lenin speaking at a rally

In the Evpatoria sanatorium in 1917, the paths of Fanny Kaplan and Lenin's younger brother Dmitry Ulyanov unexpectedly crossed. It is not known exactly what kind of relationship they had; according to one version, it was he who sent the girl to an eye clinic in Kharkov. After an operation in this clinic, my vision partially returned. In Kharkov, Kaplan learned about the October Revolution, and took it extremely negatively. Allegedly, it was then that she matured a plan to kill Lenin as a traitor to the revolution, which, in her opinion, was strangled by the Bolshevik dictatorship.

Investigative experiment of the assassination attempt on V.I.Lenin in 1918 (1 - the place where Lenin stood, 4 - the place from which Kaplan fired)

The SR revolt in Moscow was suppressed, and the assassination of Lenin became Fanny Kaplan's only chance to continue the fight against the Bolsheviks. How she learned that Lenin would appear at a workers rally in the yard of the Michelson plant is difficult to say, just as it is difficult to say, as well as to answer questions about who entrusted her with this attempt and who, besides her, participated in it.She had poor eyesight, even though she had undergone medical treatment, which may explain her mistake, although she fired at very close range. The girl was immediately captured and shot 3 days later without trial. After that, her body was doused with gasoline and burned.

Scene of the assassination attempt from the film Lenin in 1918

According to the official version, the shots were fired by Kaplan. Although, besides her confession, there was no other evidence of this: no witnesses were found, she had no weapons. The opinion about Kaplan was unambiguous, it was expressed by N. Bukharin in the newspaper Pravda on September 1, 1918: “A narrow-minded fanatical bourgeois woman who, perhaps, sincerely believes that Lenin ruined Russia; who, perhaps, really does not understand that she was willed by the hand of those who drive along the 5th alley of New York after business conversations on Bankers' Street - Wall Street. It becomes a shame for these small people, small and insignificant, like road dust."

Fanny Kaplan

According to one version, the attempt was staged by the Bolsheviks themselves: this made it possible to unleash a bloody terror against the Socialist-Revolutionaries and strengthen their own power. Be that as it may, the wounds undermined Lenin's health and became the cause of a serious illness, which became the reason for his departure from power and death. Already in our time, the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation reviewed the case and came to the conclusion: it was Kaplan who shot Lenin. Lenin was not the only leader to be attacked: assassination attempts on presidents

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